Since 1942, Puget Sound has maintained a group of cherry trees in honor of the 36 Puget Sound students of Japanese-American heritage who were forcibly removed by government decree to mandatory incarceration camps. These trees, with a life-span of roughly 20 years, are periodically replanted to help keep the memory of that season of injustice alive so that we can honor those individuals and continue to strive for equity and justice for all.
All members of the campus community are invited to a special dedication and blessing of the new generation of trees. We will gather at the southwest end of Wheelock Plaza to hear words of blessing from Rev. Kojo Kakihara of Tacoma Buddhist Temple and Rev. Karen Yokota-Love of Mason United Methodist Church, along with a reading of the names of the Puget Sound students we lost to Executive Order 9066 and whom we honored with honorary degrees in 2009.
As we watch this new generation of trees bloom and grow, may we remember those that we lost to the powers of bias, stereotyping, and fear so long ago—and also remember that each of us carries a portion of the responsibility for living and working for justice and equity on our campus and in the world.